Business

Erik Gibbs

Financial law firm launches first global crypto crimes database

In an example of the “Wild West” cryptocurrency industry continuing to be tamed, a law firm out of Virginia has created the first database of judicial cases in order to help the legal community gather resources in an effort to prosecute crypto-centered criminals and further clean up the Bitcoin ecosystem. The Blockchain Litigation Database (BLG) brings together into one central repository all crypto cases from across different jurisdictions in order to allow an easy search of data in building court cases.

The database was created by law firm Murphy & McGonigle. The firm already represents a number of high-profile clients in the financial and digital currency spaces, including Morgan Stanley, Capital One, Coinbase and Bittrex, and BLG was almost certainly developed in response to a personal observation that a lack of centralized data was available.

BLG actually made its debut last year. It tracks mostly U.S. cases that involve digital currencies, blockchain and crypto mining companies, exchanges, crypto-investment platforms and more, according to a report authored by Murphy & McGonigle partner Daniel M. Payne. That report, published this past February, has Payne asserting, “The combination of the seemingly limitless potential for cryptocurrencies with a marketplace that is not fully prepared to regulate or capitalize on their use makes for a ripe litigation environment. We expect to 2019 will provide more of the same in terms of these trends, at least in the near term.”

Payne isn’t wrong. The former head of the BTCe exchange, Alexander Vinnick, is facing a U.S.-based civil case worth $110 million filed by the acting director of the U.S. Financial Crime Enforcement Network, Jamal El-Hindi. Pocketinns, an Ethereum startup, is looking at prosecution in New Jersey over a failure to adhere to that state’s securities laws. These are just two of the over 250 cases that are now categorized on the BLG.

For the most part, legitimate crypto-related companies are willing to be regulated. They want governments to introduce regulations that will foster growth and maturity. This was the original idea behind Bitcoin – to work with, not against, governments – and those projects that speak out against government or regulatory oversight are the ones that need to be avoided.

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